Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kyumei Byoto 24 Ji 3 (24 Hr Emergency Ward Season 3) Review (2005)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

24 Hours Emergency Ward is back for the third season with Dr Shindo returning from his international aid assignment to Tokyo. Incidentally, just after a seminar/conference on emergency earthquake preparedness, he is caught in the middle of a massive earthquake and finds himself back in the ER with his former colleague Dr Kojima. This drama explores those crucial initial moments after the disaster and how their 24 hour emergency ward copes with the immediate aftermath.

*Spoiler warning*

This drama certainly starts off with a bang, centered around a major earthquake occurring in Tokyo. The initial episodes were fairly well done to depict what might happen during the initial stages of the disaster. But the impetus for the drama gradually dies down by the middle of the series as the initial deluge slows. As a result, the drama slowly loses some of its drive and seems to lack an overall sense of direction partway through. I have to say that after the initial hubbub subsided, the focus on some of the character's personal lives and struggles didn't feel quite right. While the stories themselves weren't the issue, I think the balancing of the staff's stories and those of their patients wasn't very well executed and the writers seemed to want to compartmentalize those stories into individual episodes rather than, IMHO, more naturally spreading them out across the entire series.

The acting for this drama felt reasonably solid overall but there weren't any outstanding performances I could really point out. Eguchi Yosuke as Dr Shindo and Matsushima Nanako as Dr Kojima played fairly cookie-cutter characters and they definitely lacked the sizzle and drive that was much more evident in the leads of the Iryu series. Kawaoka Daijiro as Dr Kono, Kagawa Teruyuki as the medical center director Dr Kuroki and Megumi as Nurse Otomo were really not that much more impressionable. Although medical dramas are usually more plot-focused, the attempt to depict the characters in a more human light by telling their personal stories fell a bit flat given the somewhat lacklustre treatment of the characters. In fact, Nakamura Toru as Member of Parliament Teraizumi seemed the most artificial, as though the script was trying too hard to create something for him to do.

Strangely, the theme song for this drama feels more like an opening for a newscast than a theme for a medical drama. However, its clean cut sound does give off a very optimistic tone and goes fittingly with the drama's very positive emphasis. The rest of the soundtrack is mainly instrumental and this is likely a key reason why the drama feels so smooth. The subtleness of the sounds never detracts from the story and generally enhances the more emotional aspects quite well. Happily, there are no sappy love songs or uber sweet jpop melodies keeping the drama quite down to earth. On the flip side, aside from the main theme, the music is rather forgettable and doesn't leave a long, lasting impression.

While this was by no means a bad drama, it just felt like it could have done so much more with the material it had. The screenwriting and the dialogue didn't flow quite as naturally as I would've hoped or envisioned and the material felt a little underused. If you're looking for a medical drama to watch, this one is certainly not bad but it definitely does not really get into the medical aspect of it much. So if that's what you're looking for I'd definitely suggest you consider watching Iryu, which keeps up the intensity and focus on both the medical and character development aspects.


  1. Love this but will there be season 5?? Got addicted already.. DOne watching Iryu ^^ hmm, interesting but don't like cardiovascular system... haha

  2. Haha, didn't even know there was a season 4 already out - will have to catch that sometime